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Starter fluid? ...Why?


Hodgepodge
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Tonight's topic from Scott... 

 

OK, I am going to toss this out here.  I have not yet done any diagnostics or checked timing, etc.  The car is leaking coolant at the water pump and I want to get that fixed before I spend much time on anything else.   

 

Today I went to start my '75 2002 just to move it so I can start working on it.  Wouldn't start.  Cranked and cranked and cranked.  1/4 choke, 1/2 choke, full choke.  Nothing.  Not flooded.  I did not smell excess fuel. 

 

I have other cars with carbs including an Alfa with Webers.  The Alfa always cranks right up with no choke (actually, I think it is a cold start fuel jet, not a choke)...but it has a high-volume electric fuel pump..... 

 

The previous owner of my 2002 told me that sometimes he has to squirt a little starter fluid into the carb to get it to start when it is cold.  He graciously provided a can. Hmm..  I've only once had to use starter fluid on a car that had been sitting for years and consider it a last resort for a car that was running a few days ago.  But, I tried it. I pulled the filter cover off and shot two good squirts into the barrels of the Weber 32/36 carb.  Set the choke to about half.  Turned it over.  IT IMMEDIATELY CRANKED RIGHT UP!   Kept running!  Sputtered when I pushed in the choke but didn't die.  Idled OK.  Revved OK.  Let it run until I smelled heat from the engine....actually it was the smell of the warm oil, grease, brake fluid and crud caking the engine with a little leaking coolant mixed in.  I shut it off.  Started it again.  Started right up. 

 

What the heck?   There is NO WAY I'm going to squirt starter fluid into a perfectly good engine whenever I need to start it cold.   

 

Going through the usual suspects, we know the car is getting gas....at least once it starts, and we know there is spark.  I know there is a small timing issue because of an occasional backfire when shutting off the car, but I also know that the vacuum advance is a little off because of a partially disconnected emissions control system.  I'm still trying to figure out what lines the PO disconnected and what is still connected.  (Removing all of the emissions controls will be my first project with the car.)  There is actually a golf-tee stuck in one of the disconnected manifold vacuum hoses......genius or lame....not sure.  But vacuum advance should not be a factor when the car is starting cold....right?   And if timing were way off, I don't think a little squirt of starter fluid would not fix it.  

 

So, that leaves fuel flow.  Do the mechanical fuel pumps get tired?  Is it possible that it works fine at engine RPM but doesn't draw enough fuel at starter RPM?   And what about the fuel filter?  My understanding of these filters is that they first restrict high flow and flow gradually gets worse.  The car runs and drives fine, once it is running, at all speeds.   Could the low starter RPM and a partially clogged filter prevent the car from starting?    

 

We all know that there is a nearly infinite number of things that will make a car run poorly.  But there can't be too many things that will make a car start poorly and then run fine.  

 

Ideas?   

 

Thanks, as always,

 

Scott

 

   

 

Edited by Hodgepodge
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You could be pulling a little air through the gas lines, which would make if difficult to fill the fuel bowl when cranking, but once the engine is running at 900 - 1000 RPM, the fuel pump is working hard enough to keep the fuel bowl full.  

 

Replace all the hoses from the tank to the carb and don't forget the plastic sleeve at the connection to the tank.

 

Mark92131

 

 

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11 minutes ago, 2002Scoob said:

Yup. Im with Mark. Likely air bubbles in your lines due to a cracked or dry hose/fitting. Does your trunk smell like gas?

Could also be a weak/worn mechanical fuel pump.


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Holy heck you guys!   I'll call a bulls-eye for both of you from several hundred yards!   I already ordered the fuel line and am planing to replace the lines, connectors and sender gasket in the trunk because of a strong gas smell.  And I just inquired on this site a few days ago about whether it made sense to replace a fuel pump that has over 100k miles on it but appears to be working.  You both get the top-row prize! 

 

I'm off to order that new fuel pump but I would still like to hear what ideas other people have.  If you are reading this, share your thoughts!    

 

Thanks,

 

Scott

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mark92131 said:

Replace all the hoses from the tank to the carb and don't forget the plastic sleeve at the connection to the tank.

Check back to front on your fuel lines, and if you find any cloth-covered hoses, replace 'em as they're most likely original and either cracked or porous.  After all, they're at least 41 years old...and mechanical fuel pumps would much rather suck air than gasoline.

 

mike

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Hah, not sure I deserve a prize. This is one of the most common 02 issues, I think I asked similar questions with similar solutions within the first few months of ownership my car.

 

Also get a couple check valves to install inline ahead of the pump to keep it primed, it’ll help with starts.

 

I’d hold off on the pump for now to save some money if that’s what you’re into, often times fixing the leaks will solve 99% of the problem.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

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